There’s been a spectacular spread of CSIRO-introduced dung beetles during the Australian drought.
John Feehan made these videos on 5 December 2019 at a location that was, like much of New South Wales, in severe drought.
There are four night-flying species active in the cow dung – O gazella, G spiniger, O alexis and O pecuarius.
Twenty one starter colonies of O pecuarius were relocated from this site to other climatically matched areas of Australia. This is the first time in more than 30 years that this species has been harvested for relocation.
John has identified four day-flying species at this same location – O binodis, E Africanus, E fulvus and O Taurus. Also identified was an introduced predatory species, Hister nomas.
Approximately 40 beetles of a tenth species, O aygulus, were also recovered.
There is no other area in southern Australia that has as good a diversity of introduced species that are so active in drought conditions such as are currently being experienced.
This is a credit to Dr George Bornemissza and the selections of dung beetle species made at his direction.
It is also a credit to the climate-matching skills of Dr Penny Edwards well presented in her work “Introduced Dung Beetles in Australia 1967-2007.”
Over a two day period, 34,000 introduced dung beetles were harvested and distributed to new locations in southern New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.